Baby brain who? Not me!
When women sign up to having babies, we accept the risk that our body will never again be the same. But how about our memory? Why does that go to pot as well? Lucky for us (and against popular opinion!), baby brain need not be a permanent condition. In fact, a whole-food nutrition programme during and after pregnancy can help ensure that your memory is the one thing that is fitter than ever.
Feed your brain healthy fats
An easy way to help support brain health is to eat a diet rich in healthy fats, such as salmon, pumpkin seeds, flax meal and sardines. Healthy fats are not just essential for your baby, they are the building blocks of higher intelligence. Our brain and nervous system are totally dependent on healthy fats to work optimally. In fact, conclusive research now clearly shows that the amount and type of fat one consumes has a profound effect on how you thing and feel. Pregnant mamas happen to need more than usual because they are using these fats for baby making, as well as their own personal needs.
Have a nerdy breakfast
A boiled egg is extremely rich in choline, a super important phospholipid that is key for memory. The problem during pregnancy is that the foetus needs a bucket-load of choline to make the nerve and brain cells, so poor mama can easily find herself in a deficit. Shrimp, scallops, cod, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are also great sources of choline that you can incorporate into your other meals of the day.
Don’t forget your B’s
The B-complex group of vitamins is essential for brain power but unfortunately, are easily flushed out of the body because they are water soluble. Eating foods rich in folate and B-vitamins can help boost memory function, attention span and feel more clear-headed and energetic. Protein sources that are high in B-vitamins include trout, pork chops and chicken. But you can also source your B’s from avocados, mushrooms, beans, asparagus and squash.
Forget the Sugar
Researchers at MIT found that the higher the intake of refined carbohydrates (like sugar), the lower the IQ. Sugar reduces our ability to concentrate and it depletes our body of essential vitamins and minerals which are crucial for energy production, immunity and overall health and wellbeing. In fact, too much glucose can damage nerve cells and slow down brain communication. So make sure to trade in the refined sugar for a rainbow selection of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
Add a bit of spice to your life
Turmeric, to be exact! This spice is central to Indian curries and has great memory supporting properties. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory and immune booster because of its active ingredient, curcumin. A delicious way to include turmeric in your diet is by swapping out your morning coffee for a warm glass of golden milk. Here’s my recipe:
Brainiac Golden Milk
- 5 cups of almond milk
- ½ tspn turmeric
- ½ tspn ground ginger
- 1 tspn cinnamon
- A bit of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tspn of coconut oil
- Place all ingredients in a small pot and heat.
- Keep stirring until all the spices are dissolved or whizz with a hand blender. Heat until it’s nice and hot.
- If you need to sweeten it, add a bit of raw honey.
So, don’t despair, lovely mamas! Baby making need not impair your memory powers. Eating a solid, whole-food diet, rich in the nutrients detailed in this article will support your mental and physical health during pregnancy and beyond.
For more information on keeping your brain and body healthy during your pregnancy, make sure to check out Cristina’s upcoming event.